By Pav Jordan
TORONTO (Reuters) - An activist shareholder in Research In Motion says holders of at least 8 percent of the BlackBerry maker's stock back its calls for a sale of the company or at least a radical corporate reshuffle.
Jaguar Financial Corp said it hoped to raise the percentage of stock it represents in RIM even further as talks with additional institutional shareholders bear fruit.
"Our supportive shareholders approve Jaguar's plan to negotiate, at this point in time, changes in governance and the pursuit of a value creation transaction," said Jaguar Chairman and Chief Executive Vic Alboini told Reuters.
Jaguar, a Canadian merchant bank that targets underperforming companies, wants RIM to hire a new chief executive to replace current co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, and to put itself up for sale as a whole or in its parts.
RIM, maker of the BlackBerry smartphone and Playbook tablet computer, has seen its stock price battered this year, hurt by waves of negative news and missed earnings forecasts.
Stock in the company hit a 52-week low of $19.29 a share on the Nasdaq on Oct. 4, or less than a third the C$70.54/share high it was trading at in February.
Alboini said a reasonable range for RIM's stock valuation would be between C$40 and C$60/share, depending on what course of transformative action the company chose.
"Everybody is in support of a sale of RIM or another value creative transaction," Alboini said. "Like splitting the company into separate public companies - a network company, a device company and a patents company."
Alboini says RIM's leaders have lost their way in the dramatically changing tech industry landscape, forcing it to play catch-up to the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics and HTC.
"It is time for RIM to bring in a transformational leader and a respected independent chairman," he said.
(Reporting by Pav Jordan and Alastair Sharp in Toronto; editing by Janet Guttsman)